Women’s health care…reproductive rights…family planning…a lady’s right to choose…bodily autonomy… we live in a world that loves to use euphemisms, sanitizing things using vague descriptors, but let’s call it what it is: abortion. We’re talking about the termination of a pregnancy, the destruction of an embryo or fetus, and the snuffing out of human life. It is with a sober mind and a grieved heart that I write about this issue. It is an issue about which most people, and seemingly every American is quite passionate these days. For this reason, it is incumbent for us as followers of Jesus to speak slowly (per James 1), humbly (per Philippians 2), truthfully & lovingly (per Ephesians 4), and with great grace (per II Timothy 2). As I am sure you are well aware, at the end of June, our federal Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Dobbs vs. Jackson [Mississippi] Women’s Health Organization case. We as the Church, have been unapologetically pro-life for centuries. As far back as the second century [a.d.] believers have worked to reduce the perceived need to abort children, adopting them and caring for them well. To our shame, we as evangelicals were not as well-educated as our Catholic brethren prior to 1973 working to protect life.
While I grant that faithful bible-believing Christians can respectfully disagree on some specifics regarding public policy, legislation, case law, medical care, etc., I know that everyone claiming Jesus as their Savior can agree that sixty-three-and-a-half million lives ended pre-maturely is a great stain upon the fabric of our nation. It is a truth worth mourning, lamenting, repenting. These are human lives made in the image of God. Psalm 139 is perhaps the most specific passage of scripture that speaks to the beauty of God’s creation. Even those of us believers that have the political opinion that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”, share in lamenting this great shame in the life of our young republic. Those of us that desire for abortion to be made illegal altogether, criminalized, and even eliminated from our country might be tempted to cheer and celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling, but before we “spike the football”, it is imperative for every Christian to grieve the fact that such a ruling would have ever had to take place from the beginning.
In the Dobbs vs. Jackson case, [six of the nine justices of] the Supreme Court upheld the Mississippi law effectively outlawing abortion after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. Five of these six went out of their way to highlight that their decision was strictly specific to the issue of abortion, affirming 1970s legal reasoning that the fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the federal Constitution imply a natural right to privacy in our lives. I am thankful for this legal clarity, as it may prove to have religious liberty implications in the days to come. Additionally, a side effect of this ruling, was that [a different] five of these six justices turned over the ruling of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case. In doing so, they have returned decisions regarding law and public policy [per the tenth amendment] to the states, and the people’s elected representatives. While those of us that identify as pro-life celebrate what I consider a legal and moral victory, let’s be clear that much of the work necessary to protect innocent human life is just beginning. I also want to call all Christians to be very charitable toward everyone viewing this ruling as a defeat. Those of us that highly value the right to “keep and bear arms” are naturally defensive when we perceive any degree of infringement upon that right. This is exactly what many of our neighbors are feeling, and we need not go overboard in causing offense to any neighbor. Other than the glaring reality that arms are specifically addressed in our Constitution and abortion is not, for decades, the legal arguments surrounding both of these issues are nearly identical. As we engage in gracious discussion, and even debate, with friends and neighbors about this – and any other social issue – [and I believe we should] let’s all be as charitable as possible. In doing so, when we speak the Truth of God’s Word into a situation, we do so in a winsome, loving way.
While in the days ahead, there will be much debate [even here within North Carolina] surrounding policies and legislation, let’s remember a few theological points. First, ladies that have been the victims of crime like sexual assault, and even incest, are experiencing profound shame and brokenness. May we as God’s Church work to defend them, promote biblical justice, and sympathize with their agonizing decisions. Second, even for ladies that flippantly view termination of pregnancy as a form of birth control, let’s be agents of love, teaching about God’s forgiveness and redemption. Third, let’s pray for doctors that make [in a split second] decisions about whether to save an unborn child or a pregnant mother, especially given that their decisions may face increased scrutiny in the days ahead. Let’s also thank God for the great blessing that these men and women are in our society. Fourth, let’s avoid attempting to criminalize ladies’ decisions, or desired decisions, especially given the fact that most of the girls of two generations have been misled and indoctrinated to believe that there is nothing immoral about killing a child within your own womb. Fifth, let’s do whatever we can to see to it that abortion continues to be hemmed-in, knowing that countless lives might be saved through these restrictions. Sixth, let’s remember that legislating our moral standards, superimposing, and enforcing it upon others will not get anyone into heaven. Seventh, let’s “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” of being disciples that go and make disciples. As we engage in the time-intensive and difficult work of “sowing” Gospel “seed”, we know that hearts and lives will be changed. May we pray and work together to see souls saved and desires shift such that abortion dries up from a lack of demand. May we continue to work toward a day when no one even thinks that abortion is necessary at all. May we plea for God to move in a powerful way, and may we be His agents as He does.
Finally, let’s be the Church that Jesus built. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. If we claim to be pro-life, will we line up to foster and adopt children that might be unwanted, or for which young ladies might be unable to provide? Are we willing to mentor and disciple ladies that have contemplated abortion, but have made the decision to carry their child? Are we willing to love and faithfully care for mothers that have made decisions to snuff out their own baby’s life? Are we willing to lovingly train boys what it means to be a responsible, biblical man? Let’s put our money, and our time, and our efforts, and our real estate, and our political capital, and everything else where our mouth is! I am extremely excited to announce that in the months ahead, we will have an opportunity to support a Gospel carrying ministry here in the Triad that is working to do all of these things. The Pregnancy Network is working to intercept abortion-minded women, care for them well, evangelize them, and funnel them into supportive local churches. Are we willing to be one of these churches?
Lord, for the gift of children we come to give You praise;
we bring them here before You as they begin their days.
Though they will not remember what we have done this day,
each day we’ll shape their future by all we do and say.
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds